Zimbabwe in Davis Cup advantage

Zimbabwe in Davis Cup advantage
Published: 04 February 2018 (494 Views)
The Zimbabwe Davis Cup team is on the brink of progressing to the second round of the Euro/Africa Zone Group II following inspired performances by the country's top two players Benjamin Lock and Takanyi Garanganga in the singles rubbers on the first day of the competition at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

After taking a 2-0 lead Zimbabwe will be looking for one more win to beat their fancied opponents from Eastern Europe, when the two clash in the doubles and singles reverse fixtures today.

Lock, the country's number one player, needed three sets to overcome a gallant Altug Celikbilek 6-4 1-6 6-3 in 1 hour 56 minutes.

But it was Garanganga who was more impressive dispatching Turkey's number one player Cem Ilkel, ranked 242 places above him on the ITF ladder, in straight sets

Garanganga beat Ilkel 6-4 7-5 in front of an appreciative home crowd.

"It was fantastic performance by the boys. Benjy had a tough one and he lost his way in the second set but he managed to pull through. Any team that goes into the Davis Cup and find themselves 2-0 on the first day, that's the prefect position. We need to wrap it up in the doubles and we just have to get ready for the doubles encounter," said an ecstatic returning non-playing captain Gwinyai Tongoona.

Zimbabwe has to guard against complacency today as the team seeks a single victory out of three today.

But Tongoona believes that his players have been around enough to know that things can change in a flash.

"I think they know already they have been playing Davis Cup for a long time, they both know that things can change very easily. We just have to make our game plan tonight. The doubles match is going to be tough, there is no guarantee because Turkey has a very strong doubles team," he said.

Lock was the first in the court as he broke Celikbilek once to take the first set.

Celikbilek took the game to Lock in the second set breaking twice to claim it 6-1 but Lock improved his service game in the decider to give Zimbabwe a crucial lead.

"We were both nervous at the beginning but I played a good serving game in the first and third set. Full credit to him, he played well in the second I knew I had to break his momentum in the final set," Lock said.

Soon after overcoming Celikbilek, Lock tipped Garanganga to upset Ilkel and he did just that.

Garanganga then broke Ilkel in the very first game of their matchup which may have been a good omen.

Despite struggling to get his first serve in, every other trick he tried on the net came good to hand him a big win.

"Ben set the tempo for the tie and I am glad that he won. I have played the guy before I had a shaky start but I just stayed with the strategy and it paid off. It was crucial that I played disciplined tennis," Garanganga said.

Matches begin at 10am this morning.

- the standard

Tags: Davis, Cup, Tennis,
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